From Rock Band to true Institution

ACDC, four explosive letters, name of the legendary Australian-British Hard Rock group to which we owe Kultissimes pieces crossing time and the guts of generations of Rock music fans, such as “TNT”, “Highway to Hell », “Back in Black”, to name only the best known.

In addition to having entered the legend even though the group is still officially in activity, this acronym has gone beyond the status of that of an iconic Rock Band, to become a true pop culture institution.

It is from this angle that the Kultorama prism invites you this week to analyze a major Rock'n'roll reference on which we could have written an encyclopedia in 10 volumes...


In 1973, the two YOUNG brothers Angus and Malcolm, from a large Scottish family expatriated to Sydney in Australia, decided to start their rock group. Introduced to the guitar by their eldest George, already active in a group with great success in Australia (the Easybeats) in the 1960s, ACDC signed with the Atlantic Records label in 1976 after having been rejected by different record companies, finding their music too aggressive.

It was during this period that the ACDC Machine was set up, namely the creation of a visual universe serving a metallic and resolutely Rock sound. This will involve different attempts at rather improbable stage costumes for Angus. In archive images we can see him in a Zorro costume or as Super Angus, a diversion of the famous Superman.

Ultimately, it is the essential school uniform that we know, which will be chosen on the advice of sister YOUNG. Sister to whom we also owe the name of the group, which she would have found by looking at a sewing machine (or a vacuum cleaner depending on the sources), on which was written AC/DC for “alternating current / direct current” and thus magnify this pure energy, so electrifying.

ACDC began to experience resounding success in Australia, and even exported internationally, opening for the most recognized rock bands of the moment, such as KISS, Aerosmith and Black Sabbath. This will greatly contribute to their reputation as stage beasts, to the point of stealing the spotlight from the headliners (it seems that the KISS shows were a little bland after those of ACDC).

At the same time, High Voltage, the group's first internationally released album, was released, which is when their international career was truly launched.

In 1980, after an evening of excess of all kinds, singer Bon SCOTT died in London in his sleep inside a Renault 5, officially due to “alcohol poisoning”. A hard blow for the group that some already see dissolving following this tragedy, but that will not be the case...

Brian JOHNSON will be the new voice of the group, a singer that Bon SCOTT knew and appreciated well during his lifetime.

Which gave birth that same year to the group's 7th album: “Back in Black” in homage to Bon SCOTT. It is this album that will make ACDC a legend, due to the anticipation surrounding the latter due to the sad event that occurred a few months earlier. “Back in Black” will be composed and written in 3 weeks, and will sell 50 million copies, it remains to this day the second best-selling album of all time after “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.

ACDC is a name, evoking a virile and electric aesthetic, with its codes and references such as the famous “Duckwalk” by Angus YOUNG borrowed from Chuck BERRY or the famous devil horns which have become essential concert goodies.

So many codes captured and digested by popular culture, to make a mainstream image. So it is not uncommon today to find all kinds of ACDC-branded products, the best example being fast fashion store chains (H&M, Bershka, etc.). Or even on products with a very strong image like the famous Converse Chuck Taylor.

In 2010, the American blockbuster Iron Man 2 was released, the soundtrack of which was a compilation of the group's hits, which definitively allowed the group to enter the top of pop culture. ACDC becomes transgenerational by making itself known to a younger audience who discover or rediscover an electrifying energy that has remained intact since their beginnings.

ACDC has 200 million albums sold worldwide and more than 40 years of career, at this stage we are talking about an institution. An institution that seems to surpass even the members of the group. Impressively, since 1973, between deaths, replacements and infighting within the band, the group has had 18 members on and off.

In addition, the recent death of co-founder Malcolm YOUNG (2017), and the abandonment of Brian JOHNSON forced to rest and replaced by Axl ROSE (singer of Guns N' Roses), only reinforces this idea that, these 4 letters will never die… FOREVER YOUNG

Find our T-shirt tribute to ACDC by Kulte, the Bolt, inspired by this iconic logo